Massage Your Baby: Legs and Feet
Emotional Development means the development of a full range of emotions from sad to happy to angry, and learning to deal with them appropriately. Newborns begin to express emotion from the moment they are born. Over the next few months, your baby will be able to show sadness and happiness.
Your baby will develop intimacy with you and receive your full attention.
You will need:
- A warm room
- Sufficient time
- A quiet atmosphere with few distractions
- A soft towel
- Fold a towel to create a thick mat for your baby to lie on and place this on the floor.
- Lay your baby on her back, with her feet closest to you. Make sure you are comfortable, whether you kneel, sit with legs crossed or have your legs stretched out on either side of your baby.
- Using your fingers and palms, and long, gliding strokes, massage the upper and lower parts of the baby’s legs. Hold you baby’s ankle with one hand, massaging the leg with the other.
- Baby’s feet can be massaged by grasping the ankle with one hand and gently squeezing the foot between thumb and forefinger (thumb on the bottom of the foot and forefinger on the top). Make a circular movement on the soles and edges of the feet with your thumb as you work your way down the foot from toes to heel.
- Holding baby’s ankle with one hand, gently squeeze and pull each of baby’s toes with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand.
- If your baby is unaccustomed to being massaged, allow time for him to become comfortable with it. Over time, massage could become part of a regular routine of spending enjoyable and relaxing time together. Pay attention to his cues and signals, and discontinue if your baby communicates discomfort.
- Touch your baby gently and speak to them in a loving manner
- Feel loved and valued and build their self-esteem
- Smile at your baby, make eye contact and imitate her vocalizations
- Enjoy the activity and see that you enjoy their company
- Talk to your baby and tell them about their body, naming each part as you gently massage it (i.e. I"m going to massage your ankles now")
- Develop an understanding of what they like and don't like